Next to morning tea, sunset cocktail hour is my favorite time of day. Especially when the cocktail I’m sipping is infused with tea.
This summer, in our mountain cabin rental, Dan and I curated a small liquor cabinet with bitters, orange liqueur, vermouth, and a rotating spirits list of vodka, rum, gin, or whiskey. (When one spirit was almost gone we’d buy the next.)
With a such a small liquor selection we looked for other flavor enhancers to help us avoid cocktail boredom. These included herbs from the garden, any kind of citrus or fruit in the fridge, flavored seltzers, and of course tea!
Why this recipe works with tea: Upping your mixology game with tea is a no-brainer and takes minimal effort. Don’t use tea steeped in water as a mixer for cocktails; you’ll just water down the drink. Instead, throw a couple of tea bags into 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of a room temperature spirit and let it steep for 30 minutes. Remove the tea bags and you have a tea-infused spirit base from which to build a unique 2-serving cocktail.
I used Blood Orange Rooibos from Joseph’s Tea for this cocktail. It’s a beautiful herbal tea with subtle orange notes, and it pairs perfectly with orange liqueur and an orange garnish. Since vodka has no competing flavor, the full-bodied rooibos tea really comes through in this infusion. Dan said it reminds him of a grown-up iced tea.
Happy cooking & sipping!
P.S. Thanks to Joseph’s Tea for sending me a sample of their Blood Orange Rooibos to play around with in my Tea Foodie kitchen.
By Suzanne Klein, Tea Foodie
Makes 2 cocktails
2 rooibos tea bags
4 ounces (1/2 cup) room temperature vodka (not cold)
2 ounces (1/4 cup) blanc vermouth
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) orange liqueur
2 dashes bitters (optional)
Orange peel or slice for garnish (optional)
1. Place rooibos tea bags in a medium-size jar or glass measuring cup and pour vodka over top. Let steep for 30 minutes. Remove tea bags, pressing on them with a spoon to leave as much vodka as possible in the container.
2. Add vermouth, orange liqueur, bitters, and a few ice cubes to the tea-infused vodka. Stir for a minute and strain into two cocktail glasses. Top each glass with a couple of fresh ice cubes and an orange garnish.